Wodonga firefighters Travis Nolte and Rowan Montoneri have gone from a recruit and mentor relationship, to best friends outside their brigades.
The CFA volunteers are among the many members across the state who are recognising their close bonds with brigade friends as part of International Friendship Day on Friday, 30 July.
Rowan, who is now at Wodonga West Fire Brigade, had already been a CFA volunteer for several years when Travis joined, and said the positive attitude of the new member made him stand out.
“As time went on, we realised we had a lot on common and had the same sense of humour so the friendship grew and now he’s one of my best mates, even outside our CFA life.
“It’s simple things, but he’s someone I can call if I just need a lift or want to chat about anything and it works both ways as well; he know he can call me if he needs a hand with anything.”
Travis is now at Baranduda Fire Brigade and said despite the changes to their CFA locations, their friendship remains strong as they both have similar values.
“We gel in a team environment and our thoughts on what makes a good firefighter are pretty similar which set a good foundation for our friendship.
“Now our partners are good friends as well and our kids all play together.
The duo believes their friendship has been particularly important during the last 18 months, with Rowan saying it’s great to have someone to have a laugh with.
“We take the mickey out of each other all the time as all good mates do, but it helps us stay in touch and keep our friendship strong during lockdowns,” he said.
“Having such a great mate also helps when we are turning out to the same jobs as we understand each other, can talk it afterwards, and can bounce ideas of each other to help us become better firefighters.”
“It’s easy to make good friends in an environment like CFA,” said Travis.
“You’re surrounded by like-minded people who are willing to give up their own time for a stranger or to help their community.”
Those interested in volunteering with CFA can contact their local brigade, CFA District Headquarters or submit an Expression of Interest form on the CFA website at cfa.vic.gov.au/volunteers-careers/volunteer-with-cfa.